My early ‘Year in Review’

Seeing as the holidays are right around the corner and knowing how people are so busy during this time, I decided to post my blog’s first ‘Year in Review’ early. ^.^

As I sit back and thing about everything I have done this year, I’d have to say that it has been fun. I’ve also gotten some bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s life right?

Travel

My travel log was super cool this year.

Going to Japan again, this time for my birthday, meant so much to me. Tokyo holds such a special place in my heart and I always feel like I’m home while I’m there.

When the tsunami hit Japan a few years ago, I remember standing in front of my tv crying and praying. Since then I’ve been there twice and knowing that I was almost unable to go at all, makes me treasure the island, the people and their culture even more each time I visit.

The Hello Kitty Convention in LA’s Little Tokyo was also another highlight for my travel log. I met a lot of awesome people there. It was nice to see that my HK induced craziness, was not mine alone. There.are.others. And they were there in droves. The convention sold out for all four days. I also got to finally see with my own two eyes, Yuko Yamaguchi-san, head designer for Hello Kitty over the last 30 years. When I think about all of the ill collaborations HK has done during that time, only two words come to my mind. Bow down.

Music

This is the first year that I have listened to 95% K pop music alone.

90% of that goes to BTS.

The other 5% goes to K pop songs that BTS listened or danced to.

The last 5% goes to American songs that BTS listened or danced to.

You see where I’m going with this right?

It was a BTS year for me. Between their new album ‘Dark and Wild’, the promotions for ‘Dark and Wild’, the various magazine spreads, the ridiculously cute Bangtan Bombs, their millions of tweets and everything else, BTS has successfully taken the spot as my number one group. I absolutely LOVE them. Every.single.member.

My feels were absolutely torn to shreds when BTS recently performed at the MAMAs in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. They didn’t win either of the two awards they were nominated for, but they stole the whole dam show with their off the hook performances. They SLAYED and I was so proud.

Food

I am a HUGE foodie. If the food is good, I.AM.THERE.

This past year, due to the location of my new job, I was able to explore a lot of new Asian restaurants. Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and a few fusion spots. Cucumber water…who knew??? Hello Kitty Maki, yes please!!!

The only reason I am even able to barely fit into my clothes as I type this, is due to the amount of ungawdly walking I have to do on my way to and from work.

Relationships

Bhahaha!!!

Who has time for that?! Certainly not me. All my time has been split between the above categories plus work and family. How could I possibly fit anything else in? Eventually, I’ll settle down but for now, I am happy in my space.

So that’s my ‘Year in Review’.

Geeze. When I write it out, it doesn’t seem like much but really it was so…so much.

I hope that you all have an awesome rest of 2014 and a very safe and happy holiday season.

Thank you so much for stopping by to read, watch or comment on my crazy posts!

I see your clicks from all over the world and I appreciate every single one.  \@_@/

We’ll start this shit up again in 2015!!!

XOXO

-IshaB

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Hello Kitty is not a Kitty Contest – Closed!

First, I’d like to apologize to my Followers and Readers who were looking out for my HK Contest selca post.

It was absolutely INSANE at the HK Con. 0.0

I was totally overwhelmed (in a good way) and when I got back to my hotel each day, I was totally exhausted.

However, I was able to get some super kawaii HK stuff from the Con, so instead of just one item for a prize as I’d previously planned, I am giving a HK gift set of items. ^^

Revised Contest Rules:

  1. You must be a Follower of my Blog Spot or Word Press to participate. See Contest Guidelines here.
  2. I will ask one question via post tomorrow, 11/3/2014 at 12pm EST regarding my Hello Kitty post found here.
  3. The 1st Follower to comment with the correct answer on the post gets a Hello Kitty gift set I put together from the Con!!!
  4. This contest is open to all of my Followers. I will ship internationally with tracking, as long as the winner gives me a valid mailing address.
  5. Contest ends tomorrow, 11/3/2014 at 11:59pm EST.

Good luck!!! ^ _ ^

Hello Kitty is not a Kitty Contest – Coming in October!

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I will be at the Hello Kitty Con being held at the end of October in LA! ^ _ ^

More contest details will be provided towards the middle of September.

Please see my Contest Guidelines here.

Isha’s Adventures in Japan – Sunshine City

After going non-stop for the first few days upon arriving to Japan, I hit a slump. There were so many places and things that I wanted to do but the real question was where to go next?

I did a Google search one morning of Things to do in Tokyo and Sunshine City came up. Sunshine City is located in Ikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo. It is a building complex that includes the Sunshine 60 building with an observatory located at the top, the Ancient Orient Museum, Sunshine Aquarium, a planetarium, a Prince Hotel, Namco Namja Town, J World, a convention centre, theatre, and a shopping mall. Basically everything.

We couldn’t take the Yamanote line, which we had passes for, to get there. Thank gawd the ticket machines have an English button. While walking under ground to get to the Tokyo Metro, Seibu Line, we passed numerous shops like L’Occtaine, Godiva etc. Another one of the things I love about Japan is their rail stations. The major train stations like Shibuya and Tokyo tend to be set up like underground malls. You can literally go there just to shop and eat, without even taking a single train.

It was a long but pleasant ride to the Ikebukuro stop. Once there, we followed the Sunshine City exit signs through the underground walkway. There was even a moving walkway half way through, like the ones found in the airport. There was a large crowd that was headed the same way we were, so we figured we were on the right track. Once we actually exited and went outside, the crowd immediately doubled in size. Then, there it was. Sunshine City! I thought there might be a yellow brick road. There wasn’t….

It is amazing to me how Japan has so many shopping districts but each is it’s own entity with it’s own vibe. I’ve traveled a bit so though I know I am biased towards Japan, I can’t think of any place else that I’ve been to that comes close.

The first store that caught my eye as soon as we got there was….drumroll please….Hello Kitty! I don’t even know why I did that drum roll. HK is practically an Idol in Japan. This would be our 3rd HK store in four days. Of course we went in but I was on my bestest behavior and only got a few things. – _ –

Our next stop was something to eat cause I was starving! What else is new? We went to Il Vigore and got some pasta which was hella tasty. The fact that they had a smoking section, that wasn’t smoky at all, totally made my day. I didn’t really want a cig but sat there and smoked one anyway, since I would NEVER be able to do that in Boston. EVER.

After eating, we headed up to the Sunshine Aquarium. The design was beautiful. I saw fish I’d never seen before, which is totally the point of going to an aquarium but most places don’t seem to get that concept. One of the fish that I saw was an Alligator Gar. For those of you who watch Jeremy Wade on River Monsters, this is his dream fish. Watching the horrendous size of it through the glass as it swam past my head was totally different from seeing him fishing for it on tv. Jeremy, you da’ man. I don’t think I’ll ever put a toe in a river. EVER.

Most of the fish were native to Japan and were either really weird looking, really big, really tiny, really creepy or really cute.  After we walked through the downstairs part of the aquarium we walked upstairs where they had the open tanks where the presumably safe fish were located.  It is also where the gift shop was. Ahhh. The gift shop. Where even the scary looking fish were transformed into cute plushies. Of course there were Hello Kitty items too. Much to my wallet’s horror.

From the gift shop, we went outside, thinking that was it. Nope. The sea lions, penguins, pelicans and a few other furries were outside. Sunshine aquarium is huge. I really wasn’t expecting to see as many different things as we did. I was very impressed and was in full paparazzi mode the whole time. It was also CLEAN. No dead-fish-out-in-the-sun-for-a-week smell. It took us a few hours to make it through the whole thing, inside and out. Plus they also had a show for the kiddies, but we didn’t stay for that cause it was time for dessert. Off we went to a cafe we’d seen on the way to the aquarium. This one had food too but it was the desserts that had caught our attention. Muhaha.

After dessert we headed back to the hotel. I was pooped and falling asleep on the train in Japan was definitely not on my ‘to do’ list. All in all it was an awesome day. If you are in Tokyo or going to Tokyo, Sunshine City is a must. It is very possible to go there for a few days and still not see everything. I will definitely re-visit on my next trip.

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Isha’s Adventures in Japan – Harajuku, Omotesando

Next stop Harajuku and Omotesando!

We were unable to make it to Harajuku on the Sunday after we arrived due to a rain storm so we went on a Monday instead. The reason I’d wanted to go on a Sunday is because that is THE day to be in Harajuku. Everyone is out and about. It is also the best time to see the girls that dress up in Lolita, Goth and various other cute but sometimes way over the top outfits.

Once leaving the Yamanote line Harajuku station, we went out the Omotesando exit, since KiddyLand was our first destination. A note for those of you who may be traveling to Japan…If you are supposed to take a certain exit to leave a train station, take that exit only! I learned the hard way on my first trip to Japan last year after just exiting the stations where ever. You will end up where ever and no where close to where you wanted to go. Even if it takes a few extra minutes, look for your correct exit.

Omotesando is another very popular shopping area in Tokyo for tourists and the younger natives. It has a similar set up to Akihabara in the way that you can walk down one side and then cross over and walk back up the other. Many people were also there taking pictures or just hanging out and people watching.

KiddyLand was as awesome and overwhelming as I remembered it. It was packed with people of course. Each floor is themed, not a surprise right? It has a Snoopy Town, Hello Kitty, Lego, LINE and a lots of others thrown in. It is so sweet and and cute, your teeth and eyes are burning by the time you leave the store. It was surprising how many guys were in there. Some were even by themselves. I guess they are used to all of the super kawaii-ness that comes with living in Japan. Or maybe they were just passing through to go to the Lego floor. – _ –  I did well this time. I managed to leave KiddyLand without having to auction off my plane tickets home.

We then went to a ramen shop that I’d also been to on my last visit, that I had been DYING to go back to. It is very traditional looking. The name is written in Kanji that I don’t know…sorry but I can tell you it is on a small side street after the Swarovski store. In that same side street, TGIFridays is directly across from it. It’s hard to miss. It has a sliding wooden door with a narrow wooden table and stools that borders the middle area where the cooks are making the food. Sort of like what you see in Naruto but a little bigger. Just like I remembered, it didn’t disappoint. I was absolutely comatose when we left.

From there we bee lined over to Takeshita Street aka Takeshita-dori which is a street for pedestrians only and is lined with shops, restaurants, etc on both sides. It is interesting to see how everyone automatically walks down the left side and then come back up on the right side. It’s almost like a people highway. Don’t stop, just take the exit (store) you want and get off.

I wasn’t really there for the clothing stores, I was on the hunt for a cafe. I absolutely love how many cafes Japan has that just sell desserts. The desserts not only look but also taste fantastic. It’s always nice to duck into one after a hard day of shopping. ~ _ ~ We ended up finding a really nice one and got some tiramisu, ice coffee and a coke. It was super yummy and a  tasty way to end our day.

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